Bamboo: A Sustainable, Eco-Friendly Plant for All Aspects of Living

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When it comes to choosing natural materials for products and buildings that have a range of positive environmental benefits, there’s nothing quite like bamboo. This plant is a durable and natural sustainably sourced material that can be used for a variety of applications from flooring and walls in construction to towels, toothbrushes -, and everything in between. Not only is bamboo exceptionally durable, but it’s also an affordable and environmentally friendly alternative to many other materials available today. Bamboo grows extremely fast – so fast, that some species can grow as quickly as 1.5-inches per hour! Although this fast-growing plant is often used as a building material, it also has many other positive social and economic uses and impacts as well.

Bamboo is one of the most prolific growing plants on earth and can be found in the tropical and subtropical regions throughout Asia, Africa, America, and many other continents and countries across the globe. Because bamboo is such an easy plant to grow and harvest, it has helped to create a housing revolution in parts of the world where shelter is needed most. This rugged plant can be used to manufacture flooring, walls, scaffolding, and more. It’s light in weight, easily transported, and exceptionally flexible which makes it ideal for use in a variety of structures. All of these factors combine to make bamboo an integral part of modern living. Let’s take a closer look at the environmental and sustainable impacts of bamboo and other ways it can be used to make the products that people enjoy every single day.

 

The Environmental Impacts of Bamboo

 

If you’re looking for a material that’s in line with your eco-friendly lifestyle, bamboo is a top choice. This plant is a rapidly renewable resource, which means that it doesn’t suffer from issues like logging or deforestation, as many other plant species do. The term rapidly renewable resource simply means that it’s sustainable, fast-growing, and replenishes itself at a much faster rate than some other natural materials used in manufacturing and construction. Bamboo regrows and replaces itself quickly, reducing the demand for fast-depleting materials like lumber found in traditional forests and standard trees. For example, a bamboo plant can grow to full size in just under four months (or less), while most trees may take up to 30 years or more before they reach full size. It can be grown, harvested, and re-grown much more quickly than trees while helping to preserve our precious environment in the process.

In addition to its sustainability, bamboo actually absorbs twice as much carbon dioxide as trees. It acts as a “carbon sink,” meaning that bamboo forests (called groves) can help to absorb the environmental impacts of air pollution caused by greenhouse gases. This incredible plant also generates an impressive amount of oxygen, totaling approximately 30-percent more than most other species of plants and trees. Growing and harvesting bamboo contributes to biologic carbon sequestration, a process where plants safely store carbon dioxide to help offset the amount that goes into the atmosphere. Of course, the eco-friendly process of harvesting bamboo is what makes it a popular choice for many today. The plant is harvested in a safe, renewable, and sustainable manner that reduces deforestation and habitat destruction.

 

Facts About the Sustainability of Bamboo

Now that you know more about why bamboo is such an eco-friendly choice and why it’s good for the environment, let’s check out some fast facts regarding the sustainability aspects of this incredible plant.

It’s pest-resistant. Because bamboo is easy to grow and extremely tough, it rarely suffers from pest-related issues and diseases. These plants can be grown without the use of pesticides to keep them protected from harm. Bamboo plants grow quite easily, which means they can be farmed without the need for chemical fertilizers that can cause harm to the soil and water supply.

It saves water. Growing bamboo requires no irrigation, which saves water. It rarely needs to be replanted and grows so fast that it can be replenished and fully harvested in just three to five years.

It produces oxygen. A grove of bamboo produces between 30-35 percent more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees while sequestering (absorbing) carbon dioxide. It’s also carbon-neutral, helping offset the effects of climate change. Bamboo is a critical part of maintaining the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere.

It prevents soil erosion. The roots of bamboo plants spread out underground to form a dense network that helps to work as an effective soil erosion inhibitor.

It grows in many environments. Bamboo grows in a wide range of environments across the globe, making it more easily accessible to people over larger areas without the need for excess transportation or manufacturing.

Lower environmental impact in processing. Turning bamboo into fiber for fabrics and other materials has a much lower environmental impact than other types of fibers, particularly synthetic fibers like polyester or rayon which require petroleum to make them. In fact, growing bamboo to make fabrics is better than cultivating cotton, which requires the use of pesticides, large volumes of water, and machinery to harvest.

 

Must-have bamboo items for the home

 

Toothbrush. Look for toothbrushes made with a bamboo handle to help reduce harmful waste. Since bamboo is biodegradable, your toothbrush won’t sit in a landfill as plastic toothbrushes will. 

 

 

CutleryTry bamboo cutlery in the kitchen. This alternative material won’t scratch your pots and pans, it’s completely heat-resistant, and it’s also antimicrobial.

Straws. Start using reusable bamboo instead of traditional plastic straws, and you’ll contribute to a greener world and reduce your household waste and carbon footprint.

 Here are a few tips to help you plant and grow your very own bamboo at home.

Pick the right species. Start by selecting the right bamboo species for your specific location. Running bamboo grows fast, while clumping bamboo only grows at a rate of between one and four inches in diameter per year. Check the information tag about the specific type of bamboo you want to plant to confirm that it can grow in your climate. Some bamboo may not survive if temperatures dip below a certain threshold.

Choose the right location. Plant your bamboo in full to partial sun and plant it at the same time you plant your other warm-weather veggies, plants, and flowers.

Prep the soil. Prepare the dirt by adding a bit of all-purpose garden soil to increase the level of nutrients for a healthy crop.

Water right. Bamboo thrives in humid, moist environments. Make sure that you water your bamboo plants regularly, particularly if you live in a drier climate or an area with little rainfall.

Feed it. About one month after you plant the bamboo, feed it during the growing season with quality all-purpose plant food.

Consider a container. You can grow bamboo in large containers to keep it from spreading. Just make sure that you water it more often, since the roots dry out much faster when it’s planted in a pot or other container.

Maintain it properly. Remove dead leaves and dead bamboo canes by pruning your bamboo plants every so often to keep them tidy and fresh.

Divide in spring. If you wish, you can divide your bamboo clumps in the springtime and replant them in various areas throughout your landscaping or yard.

Thanks to its incredible sustainability and many eco-friendly properties, it’s easy to see why bamboo is such important material. From construction building materials to towels and cutlery, this durable plant offers a wide range of applications for you to enjoy. Look for new ways you can make the switch, and incorporate bamboo into your life to make a positive environmental impact.

Originally posted on Porch.com

Check out www.bambuubrush.com for more details. 

 

Written by Rocio Espinoza

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